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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2003 Apr;14(2):136-44.

From measurements of metabolites to metabolomics: an 'on the fly' perspective illustrated by recent studies of carbon-nitrogen interactions.

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Departments of Metabolic Networks and Molecular Physiology, Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476, Golm, Germany.


Techniques for surveying metabolite levels provide a powerful tool for basic plant research and biotechnology. They offer the possibility of specialised measurements of specific classes of metabolites, profiling of a very broad range of low molecular weight compounds, and resolving the spatial and/or temporal localisation of selected key metabolites. Recent applications in the field of carbon-nitrogen interactions provide a framework to discuss how metabolite datasets are being utilised in the post-genomic era to characterise system responses, link transcript data to phenotypic responses, analyse underlying regulation mechanisms, and implement an in-context analysis of gene function. A major future challenge concerns the integration of the information gained from metabolite profiling into an accessible body of knowledge.

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